I’m excited to introduce you to a wonderful guest blogger today. Janine Adams is a professional organizer in St. Louis, Missouri and the president of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Check out her terrific blog at www.peaceofmindorganizing.com.
Janine’s post helps us focus on thoughtful, creative giving at a time when many of us are trying to find more meaning in the holidays. Thanks, Janine.
The horrifying tragedy at a Wal-Mart on Long Island the day after Thanksgiving represents holiday shopping at its worst. Folks waited in line for hours, then broke down the doors, actually trampling an employee. All in the name of getting a good deal, I guess.
Now I like a deal. But this year I’m encouraging myself (and you) to practice mindful shopping when it comes to the holiday season.
Here are some guidelines for mindful gift-giving this holiday season:
- Take a good look at your holiday gift recipients list. Are there people on it you could propose to just stop exchanging gifts? Taking the pressure to give off a friend or family member might be a gift in itself.
- After you’ve pared down your list, think about each person, one at a time. What are their interests? Their passions? Is there anything you can give that would really speak to those passions?
- Consider creating a gift. Bake something delicious and give it as a gift. Or, if you’re crafty, create a one-of-a-kind gift for a favorite person. (But, please, make it something they’d really enjoy, because you’re giving them something they’ll probably have trouble parting with.) Even if you’re not crafty, maybe you have an ability they don’t have. You could offer to help them clean out their files. Or paint a room. Or trim their dog’s toenails.
- Give the gift quality time together. Could you go out to lunch with a favorite friend or family member, rather than exchanging tangible gifts? Splurge a little on the lunch and make that the gift. Or maybe you could see a movie together. Or even have a fun night in with DVDs and popcorn.
- Look for gifts that aren’t mass-produced. Sure, you could give the Hottest New Thing. (I’m so out of touch, I don’t even know what that is this year.) But even more special are hand-made gifts, even if you don’t make it yourself. If you don’t have a local craft fair you can attend before gift-giving time, check out Etsy, a marketplace for hand-made items. There’s great stuff there.
- Consider a donation. In this difficult economic environment, non-profit organizations are surely suffering. Perhaps you could carefully select a charity to make a donation to in the name of your gift recipient. Or, you can let the recipient choose his or her own charity. Jeri Dansky has put together a fabulous post on donations as gifts on her wonderful organizing blog.
Remember, it really is the thought that counts. The thought and care you give to selecting a gift, not the physical item itself, is what makes it special.